Karakorum, Orkhon Waterfalls

This short excursion to the ancient capital of Karakorum will give you a new perspective on the nature of the Mongol Empire. Not much remains today of Karakorum, as it was destroyed by clan infighting and it’s materials were used to build the Erdene Zuu Monastery. In an empire of nomads, very few permanent structures were ever erected, and the impermanence of cities and monuments was of little significance to these warriors of the steppe. You will experience the unique setting of Karakorum, located on one of the major trading routes of the ancient Silk Road, and visit nearby places that will give you further insight into the natural and human history of Mongolia.Mongolia signed the World Heritage Convention of UNESCO in February of 1992 and until recently only had one site inscribed on the World Heritage List. One of the most important suggestions for the list was the 'Cultural Landscape of the Orkhon Valley'. Archaeological finds document continued occupation of the Orkhon Valley during the last 100,000 years. It is considered the cradle of central Asian nomadic civilizations. Different ancient people, like the Huns and the Uighur, settled here commencing in the 3rd century B.C.


You will be met at your hotel at a pre-arranged time by your guide and driver and begin the journey to the central provinces of Mongolia. The scenery is wide-open steppe with rolling hills in the background. You will stop for lunch along the way and reach the place called ‘Piece of Sand’ in the late afternoon. It is about a 3 hour drive from Ulaanbaatar mainly on paved roads This stretch of sand is a long strip that originates in the Gobi and stretches all the way into the central areas of Mongolia. On arrival you will make your way to the ger camp at Mount Khogno Khan. This mountain is perfect for some afternoon hiking and there are some remains of an ancient monastery that should be explored. Dinner and overnight will be at the ger camp.


After breakfast at the ger camp you will continue your drive for about three hours onto Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolia and from where Chinggis Khaan launched his cavalry. After you arrive in Karakorum you will have lunch in the ger camp. The most obvious landmarks in Karakorum are the massive walls of the Erdnezuu Monastery. After breakfast at the ger camp you will explore this monastery. It was built in 1586 and is surrounded by a massive 400m x 400m wall. Not a single nail was used in the construction of the ornate temples, and now only a few remain standing after the communist purges. In previous times the grounds held over 60 temples with 10,000 monks using them for their daily worship. After spending the time at the monastery you will have dinner and overnight at the local ger camp.


Today you will make a day trip to the Waterfall situated in the valley of the Orkhon River. This valley is known as the cradle of Mongolian civilization as many of Mongolia’s ancient monuments lie within its borders. Today you will visit some of its natural beauties. The Waterfall marks the halfway point of the Orkhon River, the longest river in Mongolia. The area surrounding the waterfall is green and forested and you will spend the day walking in the area and having a picnic lunch. This area of Mongolia is well known for producing the best ‘airag’, or fermented mare's milk, in the country. Many locals will love to challenge you to a singing game, the loser having to consume a whole bowl of the ‘airag’, so beware when visiting local families. The drive from Khujirt is about 1 hour and you will return to the ger camp in the town for dinner and overnight in the evening.


After breakfast we will drive to Khustai Nuruu in Altanbulag Soum which is about 90km west of Ulaanbaatar. The Khustai Nuruu Nature Reserve covers 900 square kilometers, and it has enjoyed protection since 1993, in order to conserve biodiversity and to facilitate the re-introduction of the Takhi (Prejewalski Wild horse) now underway. Dinner and overnight will be at the local ger camp.


After breakfast you will return to Ulaanbaatar by vehicle, a drive of about three hours on mainly paved roads. On arrival at the capital you will be taken to your hotel.

Prices per person:
1 pax US$1.689
2 pax US$1,099
3-4 pax US$749
5-9 pax US$569
10+ pax US$499

A note on prices:

The prices featured after each trip include all transport in jeeps; English speaking guide; ger camp accommodation and all meals; sightseeing fees; and internal flights and transfers in Ulaanbaatar as specified.

The prices do not include:

Drinks, items of a personal nature or gratuities.

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